The Purpose of a Birthday & the New Year

The kids sing “Happy Birthday to You…”

What is the origin of a Birthday?

To know the source, look in the Torah. In the Book of Bereshit / Genesis the Butler and Baker had dreams. They went to Yosef / Joseph and asked him to interpret the dreams. He did so. To one – the Butler / Cup-bearer he said – In three days  he would be restored to his position. To the other – the baker – he said in three days he would be killed.

The interpretation came true. Three days later it was the Birthday of Pharaoh. Rashi Explains he was celebrating the day of his birth.

At that celebration Pharaoh forgave the cup-bearer and condemned the baker.

So what is there to celebrate?

Here are Several reasons

  • that you are alive
  • that you survived the entire year
  • that you are you
  • to get gifts
  • to start the new year to be a sign for the rest of the year

We all have reasons to be thankful.

Observation of our surrounding, situations and a positive eye will help us to recognize we have more for which to be thankful than the contrary

Rejoicing for the Good

In Parasha / Torah Reading Ki tavo, in the first aliya – (Devarim / Deut. 26:11)  we read “And you shall rejoice for all the good that G-d gave you,  your household and the Levi and the convert who is among you. ” Why do we have a commandment to be happy for the good we receive? It is natural to be happy for good.

One reason is many have the attitude of ‘It’s my right.. I deserve it” Thus when they do receive good, they are not so appreciative. G-d is telling us to have the attitude that everything we receive is not a given. It is a gift from G-d. If we think thus, we will not take things for granted and be happy and thankful to Hashem for each thing we receive.

Having appreciation to G.d leads us to a more fulfilling life.  Thus we say the blessing of Shehechiyanu (Blessed are You, Our G-d … that He made us live, established us and that allowed us to arrived to this time.) on Jewish holidays to appreciate our arriving in good health to this time.